Walks take into account dogs’ likes and dislikes

Dog walkers want their dogs to enjoy their exercise.

In research conducted by Leeds Beckett University, researchers interviewed dog walkers about their relationships with their dogs on their walks. The aim was to examine how humans share space with their pets and how they negotiate the walking experience. The study was published in Social and Cultural Geography at the end of 2016.

Lead researcher Thomas Fletcher explained in press release, “The study reveals that humans walk their dogs in large part because they feel a deep-rooted emotional bond with them and hold a strong sense of obligation to ensure they stay fit and healthy. Perhaps more interestingly, humans also walk their dogs because they believe their dogs have fun and are able to be more 'dog-like' while out on a walk.”

The study found that people thought of the walk as something they did for their dog and that characteristics of the walk, including timing, length, and place were determined by the dog’s personality and what the people thought the dogs liked and disliked the most.

Many walkers indicated, for example, that they would avoid high-trafficked areas if they thought being around other people and dogs would be stressful for the dog on their walk.

The researchers determined that studying dog walking is useful for examining human-animal relations and could continue to be a subject of study for the future. Other studies could delve further into how people treat their dogs and other companion animals and focus on how dogs act without people around to give a better idea of their natural state.

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